People with disabilities face difficulties to be autonomous because they don’t always have access to information about their environment. Nowadays in the United States there are around 3.2 million people with visual impairment and it is estimated that this figure will continue to grow, reaching 9 million by 2050 according to a study by the University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute, besides, worldwide there are over 253 million people living with visual disabilities, in order all of them be fully included in society their interactions with their surroundings needs to be support by technological means.
Our project is to create accessible and interactive experiences in every corner of the world, and in this opportunity we want to use the platform that city of tomorrow provides us for develop in Indianapolis, our application empowers people living with disabilities and also, helps everyone's experience gets improve. This system has over 90,000 users on 24 countries -even some of them are Indianapolis residents- which use it for free as permanent assistance.
Our mobile app is available worldwide, use multiple maps databases and preexisting information to navigate cities delivering high-usability services developed directly with people living with disabilities. We have a routing system that by voice messages guides everyone who needs it, giving information about streets, public and private services, public transport, and more. This service can be improve through our mapping platform adding more information on public venues and also integrate with transportations systems.
Our proposal for this challenge is that we will add our indoor positioning system for guidance and orientation within the Michigan Central Station, which is 500,000 square feet (46,000 meters). Our team has built similar buildings before where our system can provide guidance and help people living with vision, visual impairment or mobility problems.
For people with visual impairment or with low vision, the application provides audio information while moving through the building, helping them to better orientate and have reference information as they move, it also provides tools so that they can easily search for specific locations inside the building or even near by bathrooms or other important services, so that we can customize through a platform on which we map on top of that and LazarilloApp collects that information when the user is inside or near the building. For people with mobility disabilities, the application can also display maps and can provide accessible routes to any point within the building using an intelligent algorithm so that the user can have a specific route wherever they are easily within the building.
Our proposal will also allow us to synchronize with train services when they are enabled and will also work in English and Spanish for the Hispanic community, for future extensions the availability of other languages suggested by the community can be integrated into the service
So that we can do this, we install infrastructure so that we can algorithm using bluetooth beacons, we can estimate the user's location. We have already installed it in more than 65 buildings, from university to hospitals and public buildings. In addition, we already have users in Detroit, who can use these implementations and the application can also work in Detroit city, so that it will provide guidance not only within the building but also for users to reach the building.
We see that this solution provides a lot of usability for more users, so we will provide API so that other applications can connect as a service also to public institutions if they wish, so that the infrastructure can be used by different applications and create different experience to different users, there are also changes in the design in the future, the platform can easily update that information so that the application can have the update information they want or provide messages inside when something unexpected happens or map the emergency exit in case neccesary.